Hon. Mike Farnworth, M.L.A.
Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General
Hon. Dominic LeBlanc, M.P.
Minister of Public Safety of Canada
Chairperson Michelaine Lahaie
Civilian Review and Complaints Commission
Deputy Commissioner of the RCMP
Open Letter: Condemnation of RCMP’s Efforts to Stall the CRCC Review into C-IRG and Continued Call to Abolish the C-IRG
Minister Farnworth, Minister LeBlanc, Commissioner Lahaie and Deputy Commissioner Dwayne McDonald:
We are writing to voice our serious concerns regarding the significant delays caused by the RCMP in a Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) investigation into the Community-Industry Response Group (C-IRG). The CRCC has received minimal information from the RCMP’s E Division, severely impacting CRCC’s ability to conclude the investigation and release findings.
The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) continues to support the CRCC review, but stands firm that more actions, including abolishment of the C-IRG, should proceed. On top of the CRCC systemic investigation, since being founded in 2017, the C-IRG faces numerous lawsuits and hundreds of individual CRCC complaints. Further, the RCMP’s lack of compliance with the CRCC investigation demonstrates a clear unwillingness of the RCMP to address systemic issues relating to the tactical, purposeful, and brutal violence used against land defenders on our traditional and unceded territories.
UBCIC Resolution 2023-23 “Support for the CRCC Review of the C-IRG and Call to Immediately Disband the C-IRG” reiterates UBCIC’s condemnation of the C-IRG and support for the necessary CRCC review. By UBCIC Resolution 2023-23, the UBCIC Chiefs Council has determined that the systemic harassment, use of force, drones, violence, prosecution, unlawful search and seizure, arrests, and assault due to the actions committed by the C-IRG, a paramilitary force, designed to mitigate assertion of our inherent, human, and constitutionally protected title and rights, is both unlawful and unacceptable.
Both British Columbia and Canada have a legislated responsibility to ensure that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is reflected, upheld, and implemented so that all provincial and federal legislation is in full alignment. This includes the RCMP’s responsibility to fully comply with the CRCC investigation and committing to advancing the recommendations identified in the eventual findings or ideally, abolishing the unit itself. The UBCIC urges the CRCC to consider the disbandment of the C-IRG in their review. Further, the UBCIC calls on the RCMP to comply with the CRCC investigation as their stalling only serves to perpetuate the cycle of brutal violence inflicted upon those who are at the frontlines defending our land and livelihoods.
We look forward to your immediate response.
On behalf of the UNION OF BC INDIAN CHIEFS
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
Chief Don Tom
Chief Marilyn Slett
CC: UBCIC Chiefs Council